Heralded “the Mediterranean’s mini-Hollywood”, Malta is a destination that may be able to surprise you with a movie fact or two. Film fans ahoy; you’ll have a good amount of iconic blockbuster locations to visit to add to your itinerary plans as you work your way through our Movie Buff’s Guide to Malta, chronologically ordered from the year 2000 to the present day…
Before we get started, why not set the scene for these movies by having a quick browse of our Malta holidays…
Release Date: 1st May 2000
One of the biggest films of 2000, it seems that everyone is a fan of Gladiator. Starring Hollywood legends Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix, the film follows the betrayal of General Maximus Decimus Meridius by his own son after leading the Roman army to victory.
Where to see it: Scenes from the movie showing Ancient Rome were shot in Fort Ricasoli over a period of 19 weeks. A replica of one-third of Rome’s Colosseum was also built here at the height of 52 feet, costing a reported $1 million to build.
Release Date: 14th May 2004
Starring Brad Pitt, Eric Bana and Orlando Bloom, Troy tells the story of the Trojan War over a 10 year period, condensed into just 3 weeks. The Greek army, led by Achilles (Pitt), invade the historical city of Troy which is being defended by Hector (Bana) and the Trojan army.
Where to see it: The city of Troy was built in Fort Ricasoli, the same place where parts of Gladiator were filmed, over a period of 10 months. Other popular locations used in the shoot include Golden Bay and the cliffside at Mellieha.
Release Date: 23rd December 2005
One of Steven Spielberg’s most critically acclaimed films, Munich was filmed in Malta over a five-week period. Depicting the events of the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, the film stars Eric Bana and Daniel Craig and was nominated for five Academy Awards.
Where to see it: Malta was able to double up as Israel, Cyprus, Lebanon, Greece, Italy, Palestine and Spain in the film, highlighting the island’s versatility. Scenes were shot in Bugibba, Sliema and Valletta.
Release Date: 21st December 2017
Based on the best-selling video game and starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cottilard, Assassin’s Creed follows the story of Aguilar de Nerha, who in 1942 is accepted into the Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood. The film then delves into present day (2016) and shows how the brotherhood has adapted over time.
Where to see it: If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll have noticed that many of the action-packed scenes take place on some of the country’s highest roofs, showing off the baroque architecture in the heart of Malta. Other filming locations included Grand Master’s Palace, the National Library and St Augustine Church, all found in Malta’s capital Valletta.
Release Date: 21st April 2017
One of the most recent films showcasing the natural beauty of Malta sees Oscar winner Christian Bale team up with Oscar Isaac. Set in Armenia, The Promise tells the story of Mikael, an apothecary who promises himself to the daughter of a an affluent neighbour in order to pay for medical school.
Where to see it: The film turns the quaint streets of Valletta into the Ottoman Empire, bringing together its historic and alluring landscape to the backdrop to a drama-filled love triangle. Sounds great, right?!
Release Date: 1st November 2017
Originally set for release in January 2017, the highly-anticipated Renegades (originally named The Lake) is due for release in November.
Where to see it: Directed by Luc Besson and starring Oscar-winner J.K Simmons, Sullivan Stapleton and Ewen Bremner, the film follows the story of Navy seals that discover an underwater treasure. It seems that Malta, which was recently voted third best diving destination in the world, was the perfect place to film this ambitious film.
Murder on the Orient Express
Release Date: 10th November 2017
It has recently been announced that Kenneth Branagh’s adaption of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express will be shot on the island of Malta. The film features some of Hollywood’s biggest A-listers including Johnny Depp, Dame Judi Dench and Michelle Pfeiffer and follows Hercule Poirot as he solves the mysterious murder of an unpopular billionaire, on the Orient Express.
Where to see it: TBC.
Release Date: TBC
Based on the real-life story of Donald Crowhurst, who in 1968 failed to win the Golden Globe Race and created a disastrous story of travelling the world alone by sea to cover up his failure, The Mercy is one of the most anticipated of 2017.
Where to see it: Filming took place in the small village of Kalkara and is due to be released later this year.
Filming in Malta…
Apparently, directors and producers find the islands’ beautiful terrain, landmarks, stunning beaches and breathtaking architecture reminiscent of film settings as diverse as ancient Rome and 19th Century Marseille through to Beirut in the 1960’s.
It’s unsurprising that Malta has its own commissioning body for film production with the aim of facilitating the planning, organisation and production of films within Maltese borders. However, it may surprise you that the Malta Film Commission is actually a part of its government; clearly, Malta’s film industry has a solid position on the islands’ agenda.
Malta has been a filming location for movies since the 1920’s and it shows no signs of slowing down…